INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 237
lower hills, together with Cycas pectinata and Gnetum scan-
dens, which are abundant everywhere.
As in all very humid climates, orchids occur in very great
abundance in the Khasia mountains, constituting there at
least one-twelfth of the vegetation, and being by far the
largest natural order of flowering plants! They are equally
abundant at all elevations. Many are epiphytes, but terrestrial
species are also common, both in dense woods and in open
grassy places. Sdtaminea are very numerous. From the
barrenness of the surface over a great part of the hills, grasses
constitute the most prominent feature in the flpra of this
district, occurring gregariously in prodigious abundance.
Most of the species belong to the tropical division of the
order, coarse Panicea being the prevailing forms, but there
are also many Poacea of European genera.
In some respects the vegetation of the Khasia approaches
more closely in its features to that of the mountains of the
Peninsula than of the Himalaya: this arises mainly from
the form of the frilla and their much less rugged outline,
their valleys being more open, though with steeper flanks, and
the hill-tops broader. Hence the grassy slopes being covered
with clumps of shrubby vegetation, and the forest being con-
fined to sheltered localities, are remarkable features in com-
mon with the Nilghiri, but quite foreign to the Himalaya; to
which must be added a very strong resemblance in the genera
and species forming the mass of the shrubby vegetation, which,
though almost all Himalayan, are there less gregarious and
more interspersed with large trees of different genera. These
Bhododendron arboreum. Styrax.
Pieris ovalifolia. CalJicarpa, several species.
Ligustruin. Celastrus, ditto.
Eurya, two species. Michelia, ditto.
Vaccinium l)racteatwm< QougMa BUmalaica,
G-aultheria, several species Gompliandra.
Symplocos, ditto. Photiniti, several specie**